Friday, September 11, 2015


Day 11 of StoryADay September
The Prompt:
A person just starting out in their field takes a prestigious, entry-level position in a big city, but the result is not as perfect or exciting as they imagined.

David paused on the sidewalk and craned his head back, trying to see the top of the building through the clouds. The stream of pedestrians bobbed around him, bumping him gently too and fro. Slowly he lowered his eyes, letting them slip down the glass façade to the wall of glass doors in front of him.

He cut his way through the flood of people, his attempt to excuse himself unacknowledged. He stepped through the glass into a massive marble foyer. “Can I help you, sir?” a voice called from the right. David turned his head and found the security guard who had spoken.

“I’m Malia Thornton’s new assistant? I’m supposed to start today?” David moved to the high counter the guard stood behind.

“Your name?” the guard asked, pulling a clipboard closer to look at the page attached.

“David. Langer.”

“Come on around. HR left paperwork for you. I’ll need your picture to make an ID.” The guard pointed to a lower section of the counter that was broken by a swinging door.

David spent the next two hours filling out forms while the guard intermittently stared at him. Finally finished, he handed his work over to the guard. “Have a seat in front of the gray screen, please.” The guard moved behind his computer, turning the camera attached to the top of his monitor to peer at David.

David smiled for the camera.

“Keep your face neutral, please. Facial recognition software has a hard time with smiling faces.” David’s smile dropped away as he pondered why his face would be run through that software.

“Alright, David, I’ll have your ID at the end of the day. You can head on up to the 31st floor. I’ll let Malia know you’re on your way.”

“Thanks,” David threw the guard a hesitant smile, then pulled it back in, wondering if his face was still being picked up by cameras. He headed to the bank of elevators, his steps echoing through the empty lobby.

David listened to a spectacular muzak version of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” as the elevator climbed into the sky. Since he was alone, he felt free to hum along.

With a ding, the elevator doors slid open, revealing a wide hallway. David looked both directions, then decided to head right. He saw a set of double doors at the end of the hallway. Scrawled across the doors in neon green script were the words “Malia Thornton Fashion Designer.”

David pushed through the doors and into Malia’s world.

The interior of Malia’s office space looked like her clothes. Bright colors, bold patterns, strappy slashes of contrast. David turned slowly, taking it all in. This was the job that was going to launch him into the industry.

While the walls and décor were loud, the air was silent. David broke it, calling out “Hello?”

“David?” a voice called from a short hallway to his left. David followed the sound  of the woman’s voice, entering what must be Malia’s actual office. Pictures of models wearing her garments as they strutted down runways in Paris and Milan were splashed on the walls. Malia herself was seated on a delicate purple chaise lounge, her bright yellow dress glaring in the dim room.

“David Thornton. I’m excited to work with you,” David said, crossing the room and extending his hand. Malia rose from the chaise, her movements smooth and sinuous. She clasped his hand, then pulled him closer, brushing her lips across his cheek. They were cold and dry, forcing David to resist the urge to pull away.

“David, I want to get to know you,” Malia said as she drifted back down to settle on the chaise. “The best way to do that is for you to make me something. My workroom is on the other side of the sitting area you came in through. You will find all the equipment and materials you need.” Malia ran a hand through her jet black hair, nestling it all behind her shoulders. “Make whatever you want. Just be finished and ready to show me by five.”

David stared at her. “Really?” Malia just smiled, nodding her head once. David returned the smile, then turned to leave the room. Possibilities began swirling through his head. Should he try to copy her style? Her words echoed through his head. She wanted to get to know him. This needed to be his piece.

David entered the workroom, taking a moment to survey the space. Four sewing machines were lined along the left wall. Two enormous work tables took up the center of the room. The right and back walls were lined with bolts of fabric and bins of other needed bits. David dove right in.

Four hours later, he held the finished piece in his hands. He had gone simple, worried about finishing by the end of the day. It was a play on the little black dress, a dark burgundy shift with a tiered hemline. He rolled the mannequin into Malia’s office.

Malia rose as he entered, circling David and his dress. “It’s lovely, David. I think you’ll do quite nicely.” Malia turned her back to David, looking back over her shoulder. “I would like to change, David, could you help me with my zipper?”

David stepped within reach, gripping the top of the zipper in his hand. Uncertain where this was headed, he pulled the zipper all the way to bottom in one fluid motion. The zipper tab slipped from his hand as he stumbled back, forgetting how to breath.

Malia reached over her shoulders and pulled the edges of the dress forward. David watched the olive-tan skin covering her neck and arms go with it. Malia shimmied, her dress, skin, and hair falling to the floor.

David stared at what was left behind. Jabba the Hutt came to mind. She was… blobby. Pale. She glistened, like maybe she would be slimy to the touch. David shivered, glad that her back was turned, keeping his reaction secret.

“Ahhhh, that feels so much better,” Malia released a delighted groan as she turned slowly in place, pointing her eyes in David’s direction.

“We’re done for the day, David, you can go.”

“All right,” David fidgeted in place, desperate to get out, but not wanting her to think he was running away. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he finally offered before turning to leave the office.

“Oh, David? I’m going to need you here early tomorrow to help me get into my dress.”

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